Attacking the Congress leadership after the Assembly election debacle, Sharad Pawar, chief of the Nationalist Congress Party, an ally of the ruling UPA at the Centre, said on Monday that the results showed that people did not want “weak rulers” but “strong and decisive leaders” like Indira Gandhi.

Observing that the Congress lost much ground in the elections, he said the new generation of young voters brought about its defeat by giving vent to their “anger” through the ballot.

Mr. Pawar is the first UPA ally alliance partner to comment on the outcome.

He said people needed strong, decisive and result-oriented leaders who formulated policies and programmes for the poor and implemented them with firmness. The results raised questions that required serious thinking.

Without naming the Aam Aadmi Party, Mr. Pawar said the big lesson to be learnt from the outcome was that if leadership lacked confidence, other “power centres” were likely to emerge.